We are each at a different stage in letting the higher reality of who we are descend into us. Some are more or less looking the other way. They are very much about their worldly journey—the people they meet, the places they go, and all the things that they have to accomplish, while ignoring what’s happening on the inside. Such a person is asleep. They haven’t really, in earnest, entered this process of allowing what is above them to come into them, and then come through them and overflow. Their human cup is turned toward the world, so it is not being filled and it is not overflowing. Some are asleep in this regard, and others are at various stages of allowing their own cup to be filled.
What is filling the cup when it is open upward and not leaking? Shekinah is an ancient word that names the evidence of the presence of the One Who Dwells. The One Who Dwells is the ultimate reality of you, for you; or of me, for me. Shekinah is the evidence of the presence of that One, known in the world when the emanation of the inner reality has been received by the human cup. Join me in this meditation on the process of the full incarnation of the One Who Dwells.
As a person begins to awaken, they touch the Glory of Life. That Glory is born from what creates it. It is born from the Light of Truth and the Fire of Love. Life without Love is not really Life. And Life without the Light of Truth is a life without beauty and not worth living. The Glory of Life is created from the Fire of Love and the Light of Truth, and it is the first layer of our Being that incarnates through our human form.
As our awakening continues to unfold, we may have a full-on encounter with the Light, which is an encounter with the Truth—the Truth of who we are, the Truth of the world in which we live, and the Truth of others.
An encounter with the Glory of Life can be filled with happiness and relief. Sometimes, as a person encounters the Light, they not only face their inner Truth but also the stark reality of the world we are living in. They face the fact that something has been corrupted in the culture in which we live, and even corrupted in their own human experience. That might not feel quite so happy, at least not at first.
Nonetheless, when we encounter the Light, its radiance enters us and we see with new eyes. We see not only the visible world around us but also the essential pattern of life and its beauty, even though it has somehow become distorted in the human experience and become something other than what it is by its own inherent nature. We begin to see how the cup of human experience that is designed to be filled from within can leak, so that it can’t hold the Glory, the Light and the Fire that is available to fill it.
In the Light of Truth, perhaps we begin to see that while we might have a wonderful experience, the next day it tends to leak away. So, the Glory of Life becomes a sometimes thing. And while we might notice that our cup is turned up and receiving something wonderful and joyful, we might also realize that at other times it is turned upside down, so it is collecting the chaos and the distortion of the culture around us, and all the vicissitudes of our own life journey.
An encounter with the Truth is about becoming honest about all that. It’s about the integrity of one’s own cup. It’s about spirituality, not just as a sometimes thing, not as just something moralistic, not just a pattern of dogma or belief, not just someone else’s teaching or something you read in a book. It is spirituality-for-real, and if we are to know it for real we have to be true to what we are discovering ourselves of what is true. And by the very nature of Truth, it is something. You are made a certain way, and so am I. There is something true about how we are made, and there is a fidelity to hold with what is true. The truth is what it is, and it isn’t what it isn’t. And so, to be true to ourselves, we end up having to reject what is not true to ourselves.
The practice of religion based in superstition has carried forward through the ages, from ancient times into the culture of today. Superstition is a belief in powers outside a person that impact them as a helpless victim. Superstition ignores the power that the individual has as a creator. It is the enemy of one’s own experience of being a living shrine. It is the enemy of the truth of oneself, because within the truth of oneself is the Creator-being that one is, not a helpless victim.
We are creating our life experience. The reality of ourselves is creating a world. Superstition of whatever brand would have us believe that we are helpless victims of reality; that the real power to create our lives is held somewhere else, by some angry god, by the powerful in the nation, by the people around us who are bigger and more powerful than us. Superstition is all about helplessness and victimhood. And when we are buying into that reality, we are not embracing the truth of who we are. It is impossible to be the cup turned upward and filled when you are believing that you are a helpless victim of the world or of your past.
Religion based in superstition ended up infecting Christianity. In ancient times, there was human sacrifice that was pervasive over the face of the earth. It was practiced in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The story of monotheism, which is the story of our Judeo-Christian culture, tells of a culture attempting to move out of its superstitious past and beyond human sacrifice. It is the story of people moving past belief in a power outside of humanity, and coming to believe in a power inside humanity. It is the story of courageous people looking to shift culture and consciousness. Certainly, it happened in incremental steps. How else would it happen? We can judge the steps. But they were steps out of superstition and into the empowerment of the Creator, which is ultimately an experience of the Creator within us.
Jesus brought the awareness of the Creator within to a higher level. He spoke of it in intimate terms as the Father within. Abba. Father. What a way to address the divinity within oneself! And when we read his words, even translated over the centuries, it is easy to sense great spiritual intimacy. They convey such Light and Love. And yet, even his profound teaching of personal empowerment by the Christ spirit within became tainted by those who came after. They were tainted by the images of human sacrifice. Jesus was portrayed by others as a human sacrifice, crucified to appease a God who would otherwise condemn humankind. Does that not remind us of the dark days of our superstitious past?
And why was there human sacrifice in that past? Was it not because there was a belief in the angry and wrathful elements that are present in the world and in the god of that day? And that angry god had to be appeased by the helpless victims in the culture. And so, the young of the culture were sacrificed to appease the wrathful deity who had it out for the people. Anything sound familiar to you about some of the beliefs advanced through Christianity after Jesus was gone? To atone for our evil and our wrongdoing as human beings, the wrathful God had to be appeased.
We can see, in so many ways, how our culture infects the fidelity of the spiritual intimacy that is natural for us as human beings. It has done so relative to Christianity. It is natural for us to be a vessel for the inner reality of who we are to express and to create in the world. But for that to happen, there has to be the fidelity and the integrity of the cup for the spiritual power that we are made to be.
Where that fidelity is present, there is a download that transpires. Who you are is downloading into you all the time, if you are open to it, and there is ongoing wisdom that comes, and there is ongoing Love. It never runs out. It just keeps on coming as long as you are open to it. But the fidelity can be disrupted by the one who is supposed to be the cup. And if you look at what has happened in our culture, and then in individual human lives, you see this great disruption of spiritual intimacy, which is a disruption of our fidelity with the spiritual reality within us. We see it at every level—at the individual level, at the level of family and community, in the nation and the world. Spiritual intimacy is under constant attack by the culture in which we live.
I want to describe how that happens. Consider the injury in the abuse of a child. There are two things that end up becoming injured in that process. There’s the immediate injury of the abuse. It could be an immediate physical harm or emotional hurt. But there is something more insidious that can happen in that process. There is a disruption of the patterns of spiritual intimacy that are natural for that child to know, and which otherwise deepen over the course of a lifetime. The fidelity of their relationship with what is inside them, which ought to be protected by parents, is under attack. Something else is being introduced that corrupts the intimacy and then makes it difficult for that person through life—unless they realize what has happened and do something about it—to enjoy the natural processes of spiritual intimacy. It can disrupt the spiritual intimacy with that empowering reality of the Creator that’s within them, which is meant to come more and more fully into them so that they come to know themselves.
That’s at an individual level. And there are things that happen in the human experience that can disrupt spiritual intimacy at any age, though certainly, the child is most vulnerable. But then think of it at the national level. Do you think, as a people in the United States, there is something of togetherness that is rightly known by us as a people? And some kind of faith in the spirit of America, in the character of America, and in the dream of America? That dream was so powerful that the French people sent us the Statue of Liberty. They were so inspired by what we were doing as a people that they gifted us with that statue. This was the result of an intimate relationship on the part of Americans with the spirit of their country and the inspiring dream that was born from that spirit.
What happens when we have leaders in America who do ignorant things that do damage to America or to the world? There is the immediate damage of a stupid decision. But there’s a larger damage that’s done, because when a leader of America acts with ignorance, there is a loss of spiritual intimacy with the spirit of America. We begin to wonder about this country:
Why am I living here and not someplace else? I thought this country was a land of liberty, a land of opportunity, a land of freedom, a land of justice. But when I see a leader violate those values, I wonder what this country is now.
To retain faith in America can become difficult. And then it becomes difficult for people around the world who, like the French, are looking to us and want to believe in America and want it to be an inspiration for their own country and their own people. When they see our leadership acting with ignorance, it destroys spiritual intimacy. That damage is worse than the immediate damage of the stupid act itself.
We could think about a community of whatever kind. The way that words are used can either increase a knowing of spiritual intimacy or they can tend to destroy it. The truth is that for someone who has full consciousness of their own spiritual intimacy, nothing can destroy it—no word, no act, nothing. This is the story of Jesus. He was a man of courage and grace who faced the situation in front of him fully, without shrinking. He brought the fullness of his Being into it, no matter how terrible the circumstances he faced. And because of that, he knew victory. He was a man of Love, and nobody could stop that. His Love proved to be more powerful than the Romans or the clergy of the day. He never denied his own spiritual intimacy.
Here we are with the opportunity to be a shrine and to allow the truth of that shrine to be present. Truth relates to the pattern of things and how things are put together according to their design, and then how they naturally unfold over time. So, when we come to know the Light of our Being, it contains that Truth. We come to know that we are this distinctive Being who is made in a distinctive way.
The Light from within shines on the reality of who we are and how we’re made, if we’re willing to come to terms with it. We see the perfection of the cup that we are. Our thinking can connect us so beautifully to wisdom, and when the cup of our thinking is turned toward the Light of our Being, that Light streams into us and we begin to see with a perspective and a knowing that we didn’t have before.
As our heart turns upward—no matter how much of a helpless victim we might wake up feeling like on a given day—we are filled from within. Our cup fills with the reality of Love, and we have that Love to give.
When there is spiritual intimacy, our cup is filled with the Glory of Life that uplifts and enlivens us. Our cup is filled with the Light of Truth, which shatters our unhappy, erroneous notions of ourselves and each other. And we are filled with the Fire of Love, which devastates our loneliness and transmutes our human experience to one of connection and generation. We come to know the Love that is burning right at the heart of our soul, and right at the heart of all people.
This is a massive truth for any human being to come to terms with: how much we love, even in the face of the world that is the way it is. That’s grace.
What is the last thing that enters our human cup? After the Glory of Life descends into us. After the Light of Truth shines fully on our human experience. After the Fire of Love has fully entered our heart and soul. The reality of who we are enters us when we allow all the emanation of who we are in. The source of that emanation is no longer being kept out when we allow the emanation in.
You are that Being who is the author of the emanation. You are the source and the origin of the Glory, the Light and the Fire. I suppose this might sound like I want you to believe something. To me, I am simply seeking to name what is true and to remind you of what I believe you already know in your heart of hearts. If you welcome all of these amazing spiritual powers of your Being—all this creative emanation from who you are—what settles into you is the very source and origin of all that, which is you. And you get to be yourself in the most profound of ways.
That is what this human journey is all about. You are being entered by the emanation of the Creator who you are, so that you come to know that you are the origin of that emanation in living expression. And you’re not simply channeling some reality that’s higher than you are. It has now entered you and is acting as you in the world. Full incarnation, full expression, full self emergence.
So, beware of the attacks on spiritual intimacy. In spiritual intimacy is all the juiciness of Life and all the pleasure of Life; all the Truth of who you are; and all the Love and the generation of Life. Your spiritual intimacy is firstly with yourself and what’s within you. Spiritual intimacy is welcoming all that juicy power that fires you up and keeps you alive. But it doesn’t stop there, because when we know fidelity with our own Inner Reality, and keep our integrity as a cup for that Reality, we can share what we are knowing with another person, with integrity and fidelity. That, too, holds the opportunity for spiritual intimacy. And beware of the attacks on spiritual intimacy. They are pervasive in the culture at large. If you won’t set them aside for yourself, the cost is devastating. The cost is the loss of your spiritual intimacy, which is devastating for the individual, for the community, for the nation, and for the world.
How is spiritual intimacy attacked? Mostly, a word at a time; a sentence at a time. It’s devastating. One tweet. One phone call. One Facebook post. One e-mail. One conversation. Actually, they mean nothing to a person who knows the fidelity and integrity of their own spiritual intimacy. And in the end, it says far more about the person who is doing the attacking than it does about anyone else. But to the vulnerable—to people who are somewhere between knowing their creatorship and feeling like a helpless victim—it can disrupt spiritual intimacy. But only if they let it. For me, and perhaps for you, I know who and what I am, and nothing anyone says or does changes my spiritual intimacy.
Be the cup turned upward. Let the download in. Let what is not true be shattered by the Light, and let loneliness be devastated by Love. The One Who Dwells is incarnating fully as you, emanating Shekinah to the world.